There are few studies on the neuroprotective effects of syringaldehyde in a rat model of cerebral ischemia. The study aimed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of syringaldehyde on ischemic brain cells. Rat models of cerebral ischemia were intraperitoneally administered syringaldehyde. At 6 and 24 hours after syringaldehyde administration, cell damage in the brain of cerebral ischemia rats was obviously reduced, superoxide dismutase activity and nuclear respiratory factor 1 expression in the brain tissue were markedly increased, malondiadehyde level was obviously decreased, apoptosis-related cysteine peptidase caspase-3 and -9 immunoreactivity was obviously decreased, and neurological function was markedly improved. These findings suggest that syringaldehyde exerts neuroprotective effects on cerebral ischemia injury through anti-oxidation and anti-apoptosis.